Grief and the Enneagram

As a Type 7 on the Enneagram, I’ve practiced avoiding pain and discomfort most of my life. In fact, you could say my whole makeup is organized about this strategy.

Lately, I’ve noticed this exhausted strategy no longer works. I can no longer push down or ignore the pain and heartbreak of seeing both my parents enter the stage in their life where they need help. Admitting that they are getting older. While this is of course part of life, seeing this change in both my parents is heartbreaking. The thought that keeps tumbling around in my head is did I miss the briefing session from my aunt and uncle letting me know what to do and how to handle it?  (more…)

12 Things to Know When a Parent is Diagnosed with Dementia.

Part of how I deal with my mom’s diagnosis of dementia is by listening to a Podcast hosted by two very smart female comedians. It’s called GUYS WE F****D: THE ANTI SLUT-SHAMING PODCAST. It’s a great distraction, especially when driving home from spending time with my mom, which can be one of the most heart-wrenching times to be alone. Before I found the podcast I used to cry all the way home. It’s a welcomed distraction and very educational. 😉

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Why Self-Awareness supports your Mental Health

“Sure thing. I can help you”.

 

It’s easier for me to help another than help myself. It so easy for me to DROP what I’m doing and support another person, however I’m not sure I’m driven by the most purest of motivations.

I feel so bad sometimes I just want to hear someone else’s shitty story to feel better about myself. Compassion is a Bitch! I use someone else’s pain and suffering to manage my own, instead of exploring my own pain. It’s a numbing technique that on the surface seems to be fulfilling, as long as I don’t look at what’s under the hood…I do this to cover up my own pain, this might be as harmful as numbing out for six hours in front of the TV eating candy. (more…)

Mental wellness; it’s all how you look at it!

Lately, I’ve been bummed out – really bummed out. I could speculate on why but I don’t think it’s that helpful to go over the reasons. When I get into a one of these bummed out moods, my mind is like a war zone of negativity, Much of how I view things is based on what happens in my day and what I make of it:

  • I apply for a job, get an interview and am told I don’t have what they are looking for.
  • I ask for help from a friend and am ignored.
  • I’m short on cash to pay my visa bill at the end of the month, and it’s a reminder that I don’t have a consistent group of clients paying me for the work I love to do.
  • I continue to work out and don’t see any results in how my body looks.
  • I view job boards, get interested in a position, only to realize I don’t have the qualifications to be considered for an interview.
  • I’m taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and have failed to keep up with the homework.
  • I’ve continued to share my vision of finding a grant for my Unleash Your Mental Wellness coaching program and have not come close to securing one.

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One woman’s 52-minute crisis

I haven’t always been challenged with directions. Reading signs and understanding where I’m going was something I did easily when I was young. I remember driving with my father and looking at the map. Usually, it was somewhere up north. He helped me understand how to read a map and the street signs. We never did any driving trips to Quebec so there was no need to learn or understand the Quebec road maps. I could have used some of that Dad support today! You see my Dad is originally from Val D’or Quebec, speaks perfect French and always knew what to do when we were lost. (more…)

When Open Hearts Connect

Open your heart and experience all the emotions. It’s a gift that I seldom open. Most of the time, I’m scared and afraid. I’m scared you will break it, I’m afraid we won’t be connected anymore.

I opened my heart this past week and here is what I found.

Open heart.
Tears in my eyes.
Moved beyond words.
Heavy heart for those who came before us.
Aching love for all that have been affected
Family, friends, strangers, professionals, caregivers.
Stopped in mid sentence by overwhelming emotions.
Caught off guard when I least expect it.
Move through it  – breathe deeply.
Balancing between incredible outrage for those who suffer and the love I experience for all of us,
even those who dishonour us,
even those who stare and call us crazy.

My experience tells me we are all the same, we come from the same place and we have the same needs;
connection,
love,
even if I don’t care to admit it.

Fear stops me from talking, it stops me from connecting, it stops me from loving. (more…)

Hall Pass

When you have been diagnosed with mental illness, life doesn’t stop giving you obstacles to overcome. Life doesn’t give you hall passes, get out of jail free cards or golden tickets. We deal with and work through all the same challenges as people who haven’t been diagnosed.

 

There is no Difference

We get married and divorced; our loved ones die, and there are wonderful births in our families. Our children do well in school, and they fail. We get jobs, and we lose jobs. We are no different from anyone else. Except, we are susceptible to being triggered by any one of the above listed events. Research has shown that anything that puts a stress on our brain (positive and negative) can affect our mood and our stability. It is critical to have support around you and a way to manage these kinds of changes in our lives. (more…)

A Leap of Faith – Disclosing Mental Illness in the Workplace

Telling a potential new client that I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder 17 years ago was the farthest thought from my mind last Friday. We were sitting in their boardroom hammering out the final details of our contract. Our next step was to review and agree on what both parties had put forward and sign off on the 1-year agreement. Still not a done deal.

I’m not sure how this happened; we started talking about our personal lives, and suddenly my partner looked over at me and said “what’s your passion, Leslie?”

Time slowed down; my heart dropped to my stomach, I felt a tightening in my chest; my mind started racing from one thought to the next, and as I looked at the clock on the wall, I realized I had three minutes to share my commitment and passion in transforming the Mental Health system in Canada. (more…)

Compromise for the sake of what?

Sleep

I won’t compromise my sleep for anything else. Sleep is the most important activity I can do for my health. Some say you can sleep when you are dead – I say you are going to be dead sooner if you don’t sleep.

Fitting in with the crowd

I no longer compromise my true self in order to be like the crowd, doing the same as the rest. Even if I know it would help the situation in the moment, I know it won’t in the long run. This lesson took longer to learn than I would have liked. I no longer try to fit in, even when that voice in my head erodes my confidence in the moment nudging me, asking me to conform, I won’t budge. (more…)